Random vignettes from my life story – 3

Witnessing the rise and fall of the World Trade Centre – New York

I mentioned in my first vignette that during the late sixties/early seventies, I became a registered representative on Wall Street where I worked for White, Weld & co. I was a single mother and so needed to make a decent living. At that stage in my life, just out of art school, there was no way I could do that through my art.

During the four years I worked in New York I lived with my son Jarrod on Staten Island, in a little cottage on Harbor View Place. From the end of Harbor View Place we had superb views of the Statue of Liberty, the Verrazano Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.…as well as the harbor traffic.

Each morning I would take Jarrod to his babysitter Marie. Then a bus to the Staten Island Ferry which took me to the foot of Wall Street on Manhattan Island. This was during the period from 1967 til 1971.

During this time construction on the World Trade Centre complex was under way. I remember watching the Twin Towers grow with great fascination…..

In this photograph I am seated at the White Weld – Block trading desk – note that all the technology was state of the art for that time. Pre my Wall Street experience I had no interest whatsoever in business or in making loads of money! My training was in the arts.’ I simply needed to support my son. After my four year stint on Wall Street..I knew for sure that it wasn’t for me. Having said that, it was an incredible experience and to this day I have good friends from that time (including my boss Sandy Lewis and his wife).

Fast forward to September 11th 2001.

I am in my studio on Mill Street in beautiful Crickhowell Wales where by this time I had been living and working for eight years. It was a million miles from Wall Street in every sense of the word. It was a lovely day and I was enjoying the tranquility of my studio.

I always keep BBC Radio 4 on when I am painting. On this day a very unusual announcement came on saying that anyone who had a tv close by was to switch to BBC News….and so I did…and there it was……the destruction of the Twin Towers..the very same place that I had seen being built all those years before.

It was all so shocking. At the time, we didn’t realise the world wide ramifications of this day. That in fact our lives would be changed for ever….

3 Harbor View Place..Staten Island

Harbor View Place had originally been one of the Vanderbuilt estates. My cottage and three other cottages had been gate houses and guest houses during that period. By the time Jarrod and I moved there, the area had been developed very beautifully within the walls of the old estate. It was a great place to live in New York.

With Jarrod on Harbor View Place…..

I had been scheduled to visit Atlanta in the States two weeks after 9/11 for both personal and work reasons. When I asked my travel agent whether I should go or not. She said if I did go to get to the airport at least five hours before my scheduled flight…..and so I did.

Many Americans had been stranded in London and were understandably very upset and concerned. When we got on the plane the BA cabin crew informed us that all newspapers had been removed and that only a few gentle movies would be played. The cabin crew were wonderful and to the best of their ability put everyone at ease.

After giving a workshop at the Quinlan Visual Arts Centre and spending time with good friends, I then flew to Philadelphia to meet my son Jarrod. The following day we drove to Staten Island where we left the car. As we took the Staten Island Ferry across to Manhattan we could see smoke rising from where the towers had been. It was a strange and surreal moment.

When we got off the Ferry it was mayhem….Lower Manhattan was completely sealed off from any form of transportation or communications. We walked up to Washington Square and then onto the Armory where people were scanning thousands of photographs of the missing. It was a very sad and poignant moment.

Here we are now twenty-one years later in our brave new world………..!

33 thoughts on “Random vignettes from my life story – 3

  1. Emma Cownie

    A terrible event (I remember that day unfolding during a day’s teaching in Swansea). It’s taken a long to to truly recognise the impact it had on so many people’s lives, not just in USA but around the world. Even in remote island of Gola off the coast of Donegal there is a plaque dedicated to Patrick Sullivan and Peter Milano who died on that day in NY.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      You are so right Emma most would be hard pressed to not know someone who was directly affected. Also it was when travel around the world changed beyond recognition with regards to security checks.

  2. Carol Balawyder

    A sad tale, indeed, Janet but also at the same time a rich vignette of your life with your son. You looked so happy and I love the boots you were wearing holding little Jarrod! πŸ™‚

  3. dancinglightofgrace

    Beautiful colors. I went to attend my maths coaching class at a friend’s house on first floor where they used to live with their parents. We were all quite shocked by the news. It took me many decades to process the impact that event had in the lives of people of the world.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you for the comment. I think everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when this happened. Given that everything and everyone in our world is interconnected…the impact from such an event has been felt worldwide. Janet

  4. davidjrogersftw

    Janet, what a sad story you tell among happy stories of you with your dear son and you at work in a job I would never have imagined you in, and being happy in New York among the sites that are so imprtant to Americans. You’re right, I think, that that event changed the nature of living on this earth for oh, a bilion people or more. Thank you for telilng your story friend.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you David.
      I could never have imagined myself in such a job….and so I think will write a vignette about how the job came about…as many people seem extremely surprised:). As a single Mother I needed to earn money….and this job did the trick until I got stuck in full time to my art in 1972.
      Stay warm…we are now having a cold snap. Nothing liken yours but definitely cooler than usual. πŸ™‚

  5. johncoyote

    Thank you for the story. One of the USA worst days dear friend. I was working on 9-11 and the memory of this day. Stayed with me. I was still a soldier on this day.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      I can well imagine. It had such a huge impact on the world and we still are living with the fall out..ie. security when we travel – and of course so many people who lost loved ones. I am sure that being a soldier at that time would have given you a different perspective. Thank you my friend:)


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